Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been gaining the support of several comedians, including Dave Chappelle, Hannibal Buress, and Norm Macdonald. During a recent interview with the Boston Herald, Yang addressed comedian Ricky Gervais’ divisive Golden Globes performance, in which he eviscerated the Hollywood elite and made references to Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein.
“I mean, they freaking hired him multiple times,” Yang said of the Golden Globes selecting Gervais to host. “They kind of know what kind of comedian he is and it is comedy so I’d put it up to a matter of taste.”
The 44-year-old serial entrepreneur’s laid-back approach was previously seen after he was targeted by racially-charged comments from comedian Shane Gillis, which ended up getting him fired from Saturday Night Live. In response, Yang watched Gillis’ comedy and concluded that his comments were not motivated by malicious intent, eventually proposing to talk with him.
“We had a good, frank, off-the-record conversation,” Yang said. “I was on the record saying that I did not think that he should lose his job. Again, it’s comedy. I thought I had a particular opportunity to let people know that turning on each other is not productive even if someone says something that you find offensive.”
According to Yang, talking to people with differing views is a prerequisite for changing their minds. He suggested that failing to engage in such conversations will make it harder to “bring our country together” and solve the problems that affect the entire country.
“You talk to them like Americans and human beings,” Yang said.
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) January 10, 2020
The businessman’s open-minded approach has led him on many different programs, including comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, as well as The Ben Shapiro Show. Throughout his campaign, he has drawn support from people all across the political spectrum, which was touched on during a Twitter game of “pass it on.” During the game, Yang’s supporters noted their political beliefs, which spanned from liberal and conservative to libertarian, as well as their reasons for voting for the businessman.
American journalist Peter Beinart claims that Yang’s diverse base is at least partly due to Yang’s tendency to downplay social issues and focus on economic ones. In addition, the central focus of Yang’s campaign is a universal basic income (UBI), which the candidate has proposed as a solution for various problems in America that would benefit people of all kinds.
Beinart noted that Yang’s approach could help him draw disaffected voters amid the identity wars created by Donald Trump.